What still united Nigeria as a nation
However, the court only complied with the plaintiffs' demands on one of four points. The court dismissed the claims in three cases. Shell Nigeria was solely responsible for the damage and not the British-Dutch parent company. In his judgment, Judge Henk Wien explicitly referred to the Nigerian laws, according to which a foreign "parent company is not fundamentally responsible for damage to its subsidiaries to third parties".
In Nigeria, however, the decision brought relief: Akpan got through with his lawsuit and can now hope for compensation. "All the fish ponds in my village are contaminated, that's just the truth," said the father of twelve in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He called the fact that the other complaints were dismissed "unjust". Mene Eric Barizaa Dooh, who was the only one of the four Nigerians to be in The Hague on Wednesday, welcomed the fact that Shell had blamed Nigeria for the poor maintenance of its pipelines. But the people in his village Goi did not listen: "Our soil is still contaminated". The residents would be left alone.
On the other hand, Shell’s vice-chairman Allard Castelein, who is responsible for environmental protection, sees the judge’s verdict as positive. He essentially confirmed the group's position. Nigeria is the largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa and the eighth largest oil exporter in the world. After more than 50 years of oil production, the Niger Delta has been hit by extreme environmental pollution. According to estimates by experts, around 1.5 million tons of oil have leaked from the 9,000 kilometers of the Shell pipelines over the past few decades. According to environmentalists, the volume corresponds to about one Exxon-Valdez accident per year.
The United Nations had also taken sides in the dispute over environmental pollution in the Niger Delta. In 2011, the UN declared that the cleansing of the Ogoniland region could possibly be the largest and longest cleansing operation of all time. She had officially made the oil industry responsible for the damage for the first time and demonstrated the poisoning of the groundwater in a study. For example, the contamination with carcinogenic benzene in an Ogoni village near the pipeline was 900 times higher than the World Health Organization limit.
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